Dutch version
An interview with the artist by Dr. Helena Spanjaard, arthistorian, in november 2000:

On a rainy afternoon in autumn I have a conversation with the artist Mookje Korst (Tilburg 1954). The stormy weather outside contrasts with the quiet mood in the spacious Amsterdam studio apartment. The versatile artist masters several disciplines in the field of free and applied art. She is working as a painter, a sculptor, a graphic and digital designer and as a photographer. The studio is full of oilpaintings, drawings, sculptures and computer manipulated photo’s. The inspiration for these very diverse works of art often derives from conspicuous forms in nature (the structure of stones, rocks, earth, reed, bone and flesh). Beside these forms Mookje also draws her inspiration from the rythms of architecture and industrial designed products. The artist carefully selects certain basic forms, that start to lead a life of their own afterwards.

The manifold oeuvre is marked by an atmosphere of harmony. This meditative character, a certain ‘serenity’ arises strongly from the oilpantings that are shown to me by Mookje. The subtle elaborated canvases are composed of almost abstract planes. Brown reddish earthcolours next to azure blue, grey green and white rosy pastelhues dominate, divorced by black and grey lines. Through Time (1998)
shows a horizontal, orangebrown shape, folded to the centre from the outside extremes. The interior is hidden. The spectator catches a glimpse from the salmonpink mystery behind, that does not reveal itself. The opposition inside/outside is an ever recurrent theme, for example in the work Los Molinos de Rio Aquas (1998). Inspired by the forms of rocks and architecture in Spain alternating grooves of grey, white and turquoise have been applied to the surface of the canvas. In the middle a passage is suggested to another, pink world: a mysterious, intimate field. The dominant, often geometric forms appear to have a deeper meaning for the artist. The forms refer to human behaviour and human characteristics; they are an interpretation at an abstract level of emotions, transformed into visual stillives: ‘I think I create clarity of form to reduce the complexity of this existence to simplicity. I am concerned about the contrast between the outside world (the society) and the inside world (the individual). The inner world is vulnerable and the door towards this inner world is almost closed.'

Harmony of opposed forces

The contrast between the inner and the outer world also emerges in several works in which the main subject portrays the human communication. In this series of paintings two independent elements, that are in a certain way related to each other, dominate. In Symbiosis (1998) two rectangular forms, topped by a battlementlike outline are inseparable connected to each other. The plasticity of the forms proceeds from the artists experience with wooden objects. Hesitation (1998) also shows two rectangular forms, now separated by a clear, black line. The yellow and green blue pastelhues evoke a feeling of sensuality. The relation between both elements is full of movement. A process of attraction and repulsion can also be seen in Serenity (1994). A small rectangular cadre surrounds the canvas (the outside world) and in the centre the battle is over. Two different geometrical planes (blue and white) touch each other in one point only. A moment of strong emotional turbulence draws the attention of the spectator in Never win or never loose (1992) Two orange red planes are involved in an explosive battle of power. The two volumes are at one point in the center tied to each other, separated by the negative space of two connecting diamonds. Red scratches in the volumes represent feelings of strength and suppressed anger.

Although the seemingly abstract forms can be interpreted at different levels, the origin of the forms mostly proceeds from visual reality. The series Woman I.II.III. (1998) ) for example is based on the capricious outline of an old, wooden beam. The artist once discovered this beam near her studio and decided to elaborate the remarkable form into a sculpture. The conspicuous has been transformed into an abstract figure of a woman. Later this image was again used in the series Woman I, II, III. This series consists of two female silhouettes, placed on a pedestal. The third part shows a meat coloured bone that is sustained by a few fragile but tough seniws. Dark and light, inside and outside, are competing. The series signifies an ode to the female vulnerabilityand strenght. As such it brings a homage to these specific characteristics of the female.

Blue and White: l’Origine du Monde

An entirely different atmosphere is evoked in the works that Mookje Korst exhibited in the exhibition space De Zaaijer (2000) In these paintings the visual reality has been reduced to sober, impressive forms and colours. Royal blue, opal white and shades of black create a universe of its own. The first work from this series, W. (1999), came into being after the death of a beloved friend. The canvas is divided in two parts. A light blue horizontal part at the top and a restless sea of different kind of blues at the bottom. In the bottom part emerges a diagonal, dark blue and black form. Mookje: 'It’s all about life and death and the evasiveness of the human existence. What it all stands for and what I really mean with it I can’t grasp in words. I feel that it is related to a deeper essence in myself. But even after the painting is finished ,I still can’t reach the essence.'

In the triptych Fear, Shrouded days, Deep down (2000), ) the paintings are totally covered with many shades of blue. In one of the three, Fear, a tiny white vertical stroke is lightning up from the dark background. These works betray an introspection, a search for the essential, the result of confrontation with death. Another canvas, Reflection (2000), shows a different relationship between blue, black and white. At the top an almost fluorescing, horizontal white stripe is floating through a deep blue space. The purity of the white contrasts strongly with the dark, myterious background. The white mirrors the large white plane at the bottom of the canvas, an immaculate space, covering one third of the painting.

The exhibition in De Zaaijer resulted in a unique experiment. Nine artists from the
artfoundation Stuwing got a chance to experiment with large size works of art inside the beautiful exhibition hall . In three weeks time Mookje created among others L’ Origine du Monde (2000). A gigantic canvas (7 m. x 2.20 m.) unrolls itself from the wall to the floor, where it continues in a horizontal position. Again there appears a white, this time vertical, rectangular form at the top. The form, that resembles a mummy, seems to rise from the blue grayish background. The bottom part of the canvas, that is stretched out over the floor, consists of a large white field, flanked by two dark blue stripes. The totality of the work evokes an atmosphere of transformation. The white rectangular form that floats at the top looks like a door between the material and the spriritual world.

The underlying theme (life and death) of this whiteblue series reaches its apotheosis in Lebensraum (2000) (4.50 m. x 2.20 m). ) The harmony between white and blue is now perfect. The horizontal, white planes are equalizing the dark blue.


Researching the relationship between the visible and the invisible is the central motivation in the oeuvre from artist Mookje Korst. Human behaviour and human characteristics are reduced to harmonious, well contemplated compositions. During the process of research reality does not reveal its secrets. The artworks are the direct response to different moods and emotions hidden in the unconsciousness of the painter. Nothing is what it seems to be at first sight. This ambiguity, this presence of several layers of reality at the same time, is the essence of Mookje’s art. This essence resonates in the unconsiousness of the spectator.

Dr. Helena Spanjaard ©
Art Historian

Amsterdam,20 november 2000